Cricket @ Pramati
Well, I know it comes out as a poor joke but then there was no other way in which I could kill two birds with one stone - which are, point A: make up for the lack of actual photographs of Martians playing cricket and point B: start this post with something attention grabbing (though it seems to have turned out on the yucky side:-)).
To be sure, I am talking about the the game and oh one more thing, it is supposed to be Pramatians and not Martians. What did you think - you found a mistake? So the schedule is - every Saturday morning some of us play cricket and cricket we play. But every Saturday, we get new stories which are grist to the mills for our office gossip mongers.
Like the week before last, or was it the week before that: Rishik, a self styled all rounder, was going into "recursions of sleep". At least that is what Abhishek heard when he tried to wake up the gentle giant. Recursions of sleep - I am thinking C but then I realize I need to pattern my thoughts on Java. It could be that just when Rishik was waking up the call for the next round of sleep was getting called. Whatever?
The same week, we got kicked out of our favourite playing ground at Hockey Stadium for "not following the protocol". Some attribute this unkind "kick-off" to we not paying the so called groundsman; but as Sandeep confirmed it for us "He doesn't accept money". Well it is also possible that the groundsman mistook Sandeep for the Director of the establishment and when he realized his mistake, all of us had to bear the brunt of his frustration.
Moving on, one of the matches at Parade Ground also involved a heavy altercation between Abhishek and Rishik, though it was Anant who bore the brunt of the sledging. Expletives were traded freely as chivalry hit a new low at the moral stock exchange.
----Cricket is a bat-and-ball sport contested by two teams, usually of eleven players each. A cricket match is played on a grass field, roughly oval in shape, in the centre of which is a flat strip of ground 22 yards (20.12 m) long, called a cricket pitch. A wicket, usually made of wood, is placed at each end of the pitch. This is what wikipedia says (Unless it got edited agaaaaaain !!) It is also hailed, especially, in England as a gentleman's game.
----Cricket(er)s are known for their chirp (which only male crickets can do; male wings have ridges or "teeth" that act like a "comb and file" instrument). This is again from wikipedia. Well, the world is so full of contradictions.
Our Saturday cricket lies somewhere between the above two definitions though showing a definite and resurgent propensity for the latter. To start with we share the ground with other crickets. Second, we chirp a lot, which is a gross understatement I have to make in interest of our future games. Our managers would definitely not want to witness our idiosyncracies and thirst for each other's blood in contrast to the camaraderie and team spirit we display in Whitehouse.
Check this incident. Struggling to find his rythm, Fazal bowled three no balls in a row. Needless to say, we were all standing in the baking sun. But all of us tried to keep our "thandd". Not all of us but. Suddenly started Pavittar's tirade in Jat from point "Abey, !@#$%@^& *++ =#, saara din dhoop mein khada karvaega kya. !@#$%^&*". Well, I am not sure of the side effects but it sure got Fazal bowling correctly. Earlier in the game, Pavittar asked Fazal for his fielding position. Fazal asked him to stand at Deep Point to which Pavittar replied in negative citing "lack of minimum hygenic standards". (It was full of cow/buffalo dung - Not sure of which one). He refused the alternative accusing the sun of shining too brightly. In the end Fazal realized that Pavittar had already selected his fielding position but just wanted to go through the motions.
Vishwas is a Johnny Lever style cricketer. He laughs before, during and after every shot he plays. Last time he also got a chance to bowl and earned some rave reviews. I am not too sure, though, if it was the high bowling standards of the bowler or a case of batsman facing a "deer caught between the headlights" situation. Anyway, riding his luck and tongue he has been able to maintain his place in the team.
An unlucky case has been that of Aishwarya (disclaimer: who is also the author). His reputation and career have been put at stake because of baseless accusations regarding his suspect bowling action and charges of the bowl spinning "only in the air and not the ground". In his defence, Aishwarya states that his action has been cleared by leading biomechanists and that he will let his bowling do the talking. For the record, his "running between the wickets" skills are legendary not to mention his claim to fame as the only spin bowler with bodyline capabilities.
Sarvesh following the footsteps of his idol, Sachin, bats Tendlya style. His batting actions are technically sound and replete with text book shots. His nemesis has been his tardy running which reminds one of a thirsty man in a desert running towards the mirage of an oasis.
Saving the best for the "later part"; Abhishek Khurana - the lone crusader of Team Pramati, religiously turns up in shorts every Saturday and that too, much before the rest of his brethren. Experts' advise to this captain has been to shuffle his wardrobe. They suggest clothes that command respect - which currently is the last thing on his players mind when they see him in shorts.
Kunal Chowdhry - The Kaluwitharana (I hear him cringing "Jayasurya") of the clique is every bowler's nightmare and someone you should avoid. "Har kaptaan, ball ki bheekh maangte hue gendbaaz se kehta hai, 'Beta, short pitch mat karna warna Kunal Thakur backfoot pe aake leg par six maar dega'." But just as every Gabbar meets his "Kutte main tera Khoon Pee Jaoonga" toting Dharmendra, Kunal too has a Aadi. Aadi has accepted the perennial lack of form in cricket. People say he runs behind the ball like a farmer trying to catch a hen which has escaped from its coup. But when it comes to completing catches off Kunal, well the transformation is comparable to that off Cringer to Battle Cat. In case you are not getting it, I provide an illustration.
Mukul is to fielding what ATBs (All Terrain Bikes) to cycling. Gravelly ground, Grassy ground, Marshy Ground, Dung filled ground. If there is a ball to be caught, it will be caught. This lanky - Batsman? Bowler? - let us say sportsperson initially shot to fame with his last ball six off Kunal which snatched victory from the jaws of definite defeat. Experts feel he has not been able to capitalize on this dream finish either on the field in the endorsements arena. People who have been following Mukul's Pramati stint closely make it a point to mention that the now-famous six followed a ball which hit him at his anti-sweet-spot.
Just when I thought I was finished, I realize there is a gaping hole left wide open. Sandeep. The star of the last match of the pre-Diwali 2007 season. This also brings mention of Anant who was the rotund star of all seasons. Needing 15 runs off the last over, our team was looking forward to the breakfast buffet at YATRI NIWAS. Fazal thought Anant could pull off a Joginder Sharma. Little did he realize that Misbah Ul Haqs are not found at every corner. First ball of the over, Sandeep takes a run and is now facing Anant (nicknamed Raging Bull because of his obliviousness of the match, specifically the umpire and batsman, once he starts his run up). Anant to Sandeep - Sandeep pulls it towards leg and that's FOUR. We are more excited than hopeful. Anant to Sandeep again - we are cheering Sandeep trying to make for the lack of actual cheerleaders- T20 ishtyle. Anant to Sandeep- that's a four again. Now the match looks ours. Sandeep looks like a man possessed Anant looks like dispossessed. Anant to Sandeep - no run. Quiet in the crowd. Anant to Sandeep - another dot ball. Everyone is tongue-tied. Anant to Sandeep- the ball connects damn well and goes straight --- for a SIX. Guys are jubilant. Yatri Nivas suddenly takes a close backseat. It has been a historic day for Team Pramati and Sandeep has left an indelible mark as Pramati's man Friday. His repertoire of bowling skills need special mention. As in the words of a close friend, "Sandeep is a thinking bowler. He has his eyes on the batsman's movements as diligently as Sauron has his on The Ring". Brings to mind what Frodo said about the ring "The Eye was rimmed with fire, but was itself glazed, yellow as a cat's, watchful and intent, and the black slit of its pupil opened on a pit, a window into nothing"